As the Mets look to fill the gaping holes on the team and doing it on the relative cheap, I have an idea — how about Andrew McCutchen? The former NL MVP is said to be available, and would fill a vital need for the Mets in center field.
You might immediately dismiss the idea because McCutchen is allegedly on the decline. His 2016 was admittedly a down year — he hit a career low .256, with 24 home runs and 79 RBIs. He also walked 69 times and struck out 143 times, also career worsts. Still, he wasn’t awful; not MVP standards, but not terrible.
He bounced back this past season, batting .279 with 28 homers and 88 RBIs. The walks and strikeouts were also better. Again, he may not be an MVP candidate anymore, but certainly those numbers would fit in just fine in the Mets lineup. And he just turned 30, so there is no indication he can’t match this production.
But the best part from the Mets standpoint is that he is signed for just one more year at $14.5 million. It would be a short-term risk for the long-term contract-phobic Mets.
What would the Pirates want in return? Well, the Mets would likely love to send Juan Lagares to Pittsburgh, but he is signed for two more years at a total of $15.5 million. The Pirates would be doing this in part to save money; they would probably not want to take on even more salary for an inferior player. Would Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman plus a prospect or two get it done? The Mets do not have many high-end prospects in the minors, so possibly not. Would it take Steven Matz? I’m not sure I would do that for one year of McCutchen. But if the Pirates want to include second baseman Josh Harrison (in whom the Mets reportedly have an interest) and turn this into a blockbuster deal that includes Matz and more, then things could get interesting.
I don’t know if the Mets have what it would take to get Andrew McCutchen; all I know is that they should place a call to Pittsburgh. That call would likely be collect.